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CIES language, but not loan repayment, in House budget

Despite securing more than 50 co-sponsors and legislators receiving more than 900 letters of support over the past two weeks, Amendment #914 - the pilot loan repayment program for direct care human services workers filed by Rep. Jeffrey Roy - was not included in consolidated amendment (G) Tuesday night as the state House of Representatives continued to work through its FY '17 budget proposal. Amendment G dealt with all the "Health and Human Services and Elder Affairs" amendments for the FY '17 House Ways & Means budget plan.

Earlier in the day, employment services providers scored a big win when the House approve Consolidated Amendment "D" dealing with social services and veterans line items, including a provision that would fund Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES) in the Employment Services Program (ESP) line item (4401-1000) at no less than FY '16 spending levels for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016. CIES spending in FY '16 is currently projected to be $7 million, and Rep. Daniel Hunt filed an amendment in an effort to ensure it would be funded at least at FY '16 levels next year. They also increased the overall ESP line item by nearly $7 million, going from $5 million in the initial House Ways & Means Committee budget proposal to $11.8 million after the amendment was approved.

The additional funds will allow community-based human services organizations to continue providing services to individuals needing job training, jobs and employment supports. In FY '15, more than 1,750 clients received CIES services from a community-based human services provider.

The House will wrap up its budget proposal this week and send it on to the Senate, where the Council will again seek funding for student loan repayment. The Providers' Council thanks our legislative champions in the House, Reps. Roy and Hunt, for filing amendments on behalf of the Council and our members.

The House budget process is expected to finish later today or Thursday. If you have questions or concerns about the FY '17 House Ways & Means budget, please email Bill Yelenak.